A scan of 10.3 million stars is not a sign of aliens – yet

This is a disturbing aerial view of the low frequency radio telescope, Morchison Widefield Array (MWA), published on September 8, 2020 in Western Australia.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Scientists have completed an extensive search for extraterrestrial cultures by scanning about 10.3 million stars using a radio telescope in Australia, but have yet to find it – at least.

To find evidence of possible life outside our solar system, researchers are exploring communication signals such as “technosignatures” that could originate from intelligent alien humans.

Using the Morchison Widefield Array (MWA) telescope at the front of Western Australia, they discovered low-frequency radio emissions from the stars of the Vine constellation, similar to FM radio. The findings were published this week in the Publications of the Australian Astronomical Society.

“It’s not surprising we didn’t find anything. There are still many unknown variables, said Chenoa Tremblay, an astrophysicist in the astronomy and space division of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Australia’s National Science Agency.

“Finding life outside our solar system is a big challenge,” Tremble added. “We don’t know when, how, where or what kind of signal is received to get an indication that we are not alone in the galaxy.”

While the discovery was 100 times deeper and wider than before, according to astrophysicist Steven Ting of Curtin University in Australia and the International Center for Radio Astronomy Research, it involved a few stars in terms of the universe.

“Ten million stars looks like a lot. However, our best assessment is that there are about 100 billion stars (in the galaxy) so we’ve focused on only 0.001% of our galaxy, “said Tremblay. “Let’s say there are 300 fish in the ocean and we tried to find them by examining the area of ​​the backyard swimming pool. One of them would be less likely to find a fish. ”

MWA is the forerunner of another tool, the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), which promises to accelerate the discovery of technoSignature in the near future.

“The important thing is to constantly improve the techniques and always move forward more thoroughly,” Tingye said. “There is always the possibility that the next observation will be something, even if you do not expect anything. Science can be amazing, so the important thing is. ”

Reported by Will Dunham; Edited by Sandra Mueller

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